A clinical measurement to quantify spasticity in children with cerebral palsy by integration of multidimensional signals

L. Bar-On*, E. Aertbeliën, H. Wambacq, D. Severijns, K. Lambrecht, B. Dan, C. Huenaerts, H. Bruyninckx, Luc Janssens, L. Van Gestel, E. Jaspers, G. Molenaers, K. Desloovere

*Corresponding author for this work

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Most clinical tools for measuring spasticity, such as the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) and the Modified Tardieu Scale (MTS), are not sufficiently accurate or reliable. This study investigated the clinimetric properties of an instrumented spasticity assessment. Twenty-eight children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) and 10 typically developing (TD) children were included. Six of the children with CP were retested to evaluate reliability. To quantify spasticity in the gastrocnemius (GAS) and medial hamstrings (MEH), three synchronized signals were collected and integrated: surface electromyography (sEMG); joint-angle characteristics; and torque. Muscles were manually stretched at low velocity (LV) and high velocity (HV). Spasticity parameters were extracted from the change in sEMG and in torque between LV and HV. Reliability was determined with intraclass-correlation coefficients and the standard error of measurement; validity by assessing group differences and correlating spasticity parameters with the MAS and MTS. Reliability was moderately high for both muscles. Spasticity parameters in both muscles were higher in children with CP than in TD children, showed moderate correlation with the MAS for both muscles and good correlation to the MTS for the MEH. Spasticity assessment based on multidimensional signals therefore provides reliable and clinically relevant measures of spasticity. Moreover, the moderate correlations of the MAS and MTS with the objective parameters further stress the added value of the instrumented measurements to detect and investigate spasticity, especially for the GAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013

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